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Living with an HIV+ person/Blow Job
Mar 25, 2001

I am a freshman in college and next year, I had been planning on getting an apartment with a friend of mine. She has been dating this guy we met at a club a couple of months ago and yesterday she tells me that he is HIV+. She said she talked to some doctors and clinics and they said she most likely has HIV also, but it would take 6 months to know for sure. I'm not too worried about sharing the rest of the apartment, but what about the bathroom? We will be using the same shower and everything. She also says that even though her boyfriend didn't tell her until after they had had sex a great number of times that he was HIV+, she still loves him and is going to stay together with him. He will be spending lots of time at our apartment too. Initially, I told her I was okay with it and I still wanted to live with her next year, but she told me to really think it over and decide whether I still want to get the apartment with her. Now I am having doubts. Am I at risk? If I do end up living with her, what can I do to ensure my own safety with my health? Also, I gave a blowjob(didn't swallow and no cuts on my mouth) to a guy who I doubt would have the virus, but all the same, am I at risk because of that?

Response from Mr. Kull

I understand your concern. It is important that you learn as much as you can about HIV transmission and prevention because that will provide you with the knowledge and power to be supportive and caring to your friend. Let's keep in mind that you don't know if your friend is HIV infected yet, so let's not be hasty!

Even if she is infected, it is very unlikely that you would get infected by sharing a living space with her. Several studies have been conducted among families who live with an HIV positive person in the household. Only in rare circumstances was a person infected, and that probably involved direct contact with the infected person's blood. Here is what the CDC recommends to reduce the chances of getting infected when living with an HIV positive person:

1)Gloves should be worn during contact with blood or other body fluids that could possibly contain visible blood, such as urine, feces, or vomit.

2)Cuts, sores, or breaks on both the care giver's and patient's exposed skin should be covered with bandages when engaging in contact.

3)Hands and other parts of the body should be washed immediately after contact with blood or other body fluids, and surfaces soiled with blood hsould be disinfected appropriately.

4)Practices that increase the likelihood of blood contact, such as sharing razors and toothbrushes, should be avoided.

5)Needles and other sharp instruments should be used only when medically necessary and handled according to recommendations for healthcare settings.

You probably notice that it is unlikely that many of these situations will even come up in your relationship with your friend. Using the bathroom, sharing drinks, preparing food, and other day-to-day activities will not put you at risk for infection.

Read through the Transmission (sexual) archives for information about transmission through oral sex.

RMK



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